Documentary series begins in Beaver Creek Wednesday |

Documentary series begins in Beaver Creek Wednesday

BEAVER CREEK Colorado “-Immortalized in paintings and poetry, the Yangtze River is called by many names including: Jiang, “the river”; Jinsha, meaning “golden sands river”; and Tongtian, meaning “river passing through heaven.” It is the longest river in Asia and the third-longest in the world. The Three Gorges Dam, which was built on the Yangtze, is the largest hydroelectric power station in the world, and will be fully operational in 2011. While the dam will illuminate the dark, control flooding, enhance navigation and provide clean energy, it has also flooded archaeological and cultural sites, may displace five million people by 2020, and is changing China’s ecology.

Yung Chang, a Chinese-Canadian filmmaker, documents workers and travelers on Farewell Cruises on an ironic journey to mark the end of history and the beginning of the future. Aboard a luxury liner, the young workers are trying to navigate the transition into a prosperous future while two million countrymen are losing their livelihoods and being relocated. On deck, wealthy tourists mark the ghostly remains of the river’s famed landscapes. Two main characters representing change in China are Yu Shui (Cindy) a 16-year-old girl who must leave school to support her family and Jerry, who by contrast, embraces the opportunities opening up for already educated Chinese.

Film critic Walter Chaw will lead a discussion immediately following the film. Chaw helped picked the three documentaries being featured in this year’s Beaver Creek Documentary Film Series.

“I wanted to work with documentaries that challenged the traditional perception of documentaries as dry, airless, vehicles rather than works of art and agility,” Chaw said.

The other two films in the series are: “Young @ Heart,” which will show April 8 and “Man on Wire,” set for April 15.

The Vail Symposium, established in 1971, is a non-profit organization dedicated to year-round lifelong learning through cultural and educational programs that are thought-provoking, diverse and affordable. To view the full winter schedule, visit

What: “Up the Yangtze” documentary

Where: Vilar Performing Arts Center, Beaver Creek

When: 7 p.m., film; 8:30 p.m. coffee, cookies and conversation with film critic Walter Chaw, Wednesday

Cost: $11 or $30 for a series of three

More information: Call the Vail Symposium at 970-476-0954 or visit

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